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July 2001

Advantages of Bass Fishing Clubs
Chris Roberts


Have you ever wondered how good of a fisherman you are?  I know I have.  I have photo albums full of pictures of me holding fish.  I always thought that I could catch fish with anyone.  I was fortunate to be living in Bartlesville where the second largest B.A.S.S. Federation club in the state is located.  I joined the Bartlesville Bassmasters and have never looked back.  I used the club as a measuring stick for my abilities.  After a year in the club, I realized that bass clubs do more than just fish tournaments.

During the first year of my membership I realized that there was so much out there that I had never even contemplated doing to improve my fishing.  I found that even when I thought that fish just were not biting, someone always weighed a few in.  After getting to know a few of the guys, we started to share our success stories and I started to apply their techniques to my arsenal and have become a much better fisherman.  I recommend that every bass fisherman who wants to be good at it, should be a member of a club.  Bass clubs offer a great opportunity for fishermen that donít have their own boat.  You will likely draw several good fishermen throughout the year and you can learn more in a year than you would in five years of fishing on your own.  As a non-boater you will get the opportunity to learn new lakes and techniques that you just canít learn from the bank.  Attending the meetings is another great place to learn more about fishing.  The active members of most clubs knew about the Large Mouth Bass Virus long before most of the other anglers in our state.  We talked about the lakes that were affected and how to prevent the spread of the virus through proper boat maintenance.  The same is true of the Zebra Muscle.  Prior to fishing a lake that is known to have Zebra muscles in them, we discussed ways to insure that they were not transported back to Oklahoma.

Bass clubs do more in their community than most people know.  Most clubs host at least one Casting Kids event in their towns and cities.  These events are a great way to get todayís youth hooked on fishing. The Bartlesville Bassmasters are involved in several Casting Kids events including not only the ones that we host, but the Oklahoma Federation events as well.  Most clubs feel that it is their duty to promote our sport with young people who are eventually take over for us.  Some clubs carry it one step further and they even have youth tournament trails.  This is a great way to allow us to spend quality time with our kids and to insure the future survival of our sport.

Bass clubs also have the ability to further the cause of bass fishing using state money for projects that benefit local fishermen. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is in charge of delegating money from the state to bass clubs for improvements on local lakes.  The Sport Fish Restoration Fund is used for these improvements.  This fund pays up to seventy-five percent of the expense of these projects.  With volunteer labor and donations from outside businesses, some projects can be completed with no out of pocket expense to the club.  The Bartlesville Bassmasters have a restocking program on Hulah Lake in which the fish are donated to our club from the state.  We put the fingerlings into a pond and raise them to around twelve inches then we release them into the lake.  This has resulted in a super fishery for all bass fishermen.  One club used this money to build a new ramp for tournaments on Keystone Lake to make it more convenient for the tournament fishermen as well as pleasure boaters.  Now the pleasure boaters do not have to worry about long lines at their favorite ramp.  The new ramp is set up to handle lots of boats and is perfect for weigh-ins.  These are just two ways that bass clubs can benefit your local lake.

These are just a few ways that local bass clubs can benefit you and your community.  If you want to be a better angler, you need to get involved in one of these clubs.  There is probably one located in your hometown.  Just go the Oklahoma BASS Federation web site to find a club near you.  Be sure to come join in the fun.

Leave a few for seed,

Chris Roberts